I stalled writing this part of my story since I don't like putting into words how fearful I am. I don't know why I find it easier to say 'I battle depression' than 'I am fearful.' KavinCoach described my life as fear based. Not only was it fear based but loaded with misinformation, prejudice, and just plain ignorance. When I was 15 years old I had my first blackout. I reported the incident to my parents and was informed I was exaggerating. I knew from experience they wouldn't believe me unless they saw one of the blackouts. I didn't know what caused them. I also felt totally out of step with anyone my age. I again complained to my parents. Again I was told that I was exaggerating and that I was just as mixed up as any other teenager. I talked with other teenagers and I realized in high school that I thought differently. I stopped sharing what I thought because I didn't like the reaction of my peers that on more than one occasion let me know what I said was "crazy." This is where the prejudice came in. I could be dumb, I could be ignorant, but "crazy" was totally unacceptable. 'They'* will come and take you away and lock you up for being "crazy." Threats of 24th Street and Van Bueren were scarier than the boogie-man. (Location of the mental institution in Phoenix.) I know that my mother had gone to counseling a few times but only for a few sessions and the experience seemed to heighten my prejudice that counseling was useless. Fortunately, I learned the errors of this backwards thinking. Because of my black outs, I figured that there was something physically wrong with me. Because I never cried, I didn't believe that I could be depressed. I also read books like "Bellevue is a State of Mind." That explored the horrors of a mental institution. Another prejudice I encountered were those that said that if I had "enough" faith all would be well. Being a logical type of person I flipped it around to say if all was not well I must not have "enough" faith. (I put the word "enough" in quotes since no one was ever able to explain to me what "enough" faith looked like. Job had plenty of faith and his life was a mess. If you read my blog often you will notice that Job is one of my heroes.) Age 17, I passed out in front of my mother. It was rather spectacular because I had just parked the car and didn't remember doing that when I walked in the house and fainted on the floor. Off to the doctor I went. He declared that I had adrenal collapse and it occurred because I was an over anxious teenager trying to do too much. Years later I learned more and found that I only had a few of the symptoms. The answer satisfied my parents and I was informed I would grow out of it. I dismissed any need for concern. Only thing was that the older I got the worse the blackouts were and the more frequently I had them. I learned to recognize early symptoms and lay down before I fell down. Again I asked doctors about the black outs. I was told they were caused by pregnancy, nursing, and finally stress. Great. I considered Stress the great catch all for when the medical field doesn't know what is wrong with you. Finally after all my children were born and I stopped nursing I blacked out while I was driving and wrecked our van. Fortunately I was driving alone on a country road and I didn't hurt anyone but myself and the van. Back to the doctor. I was inspected, detected and tested for anything imaginable that has black outs for symptoms. I was again asked if I was depressed again I said no since I loved to laugh and still didn't cry. (When I started counseling when I was 45 I could count on one hand how many times I had cried and why.) I finally did read a book on depression. (Very depressing reading.) This is when I found out that crying was only one of many different symptoms of depression. I was stunned when I read the chapter on baby blues and discovered I had every symptom except crying. By this time I did not trust the medical field so I stopped seeing doctors all together accept for emergencies. My life spiral down into a darker and darker place. I knew I was suicidal but I was afraid to tell anyone. I sometimes would admit to my closest friend my depression but mostly I learned to keep my mouth shut. A very poor choice based on fear of what might happen to me. Twenty years ago I hit my lowest point. I could barely function. I had this shadow warrior that could annihilate me on a whim. I was tired of trying to tell people in and out of my family that there was something wrong with me and having them tell me I was exaggerating or discount me completely as trying to manipulate them. I finally accepted that I would live a half life. More in twilight than living. I pondered what the use of living this meager existence, then I would look at my kids and keep going. One plodding step in front of another. By this time my family finally excepted that there was something seriously wrong with me. I started doing my own research. Praying and studying I started rebuilding my physical health. All the while ignoring the stress and depression in my life. Our children were getting married, I was working full time and my mental depression finally hit the wall. I either needed to live like a hermit, commit suicide or get counseling. By this time I had read dozens of self-help books, hundreds of medical journal articles, and taken a how-to-improve your marriage class. The last one was the final straw. I attended the classes and didn't understand enough of what they were talking about to ask a question. I felt that all these people in the room were talking another language. I finally asked my friend for some names of marriage counselors to get help with learning how to communicate. I called KavinCoach. I finally took the steps I needed to learn what was really wrong with me. I learned that depression can cause physical illness, insomnia, headaches, ulcers, asthma symptoms.... the list went on and on all the problems caused by depression and crying was only one of many symptoms. I didn't cry because I had been systematically trained not to. Now I hear someone is starting counseling and I admire their courage because it is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Having cancer was easier than counseling. If I am ever asked now what to do if you are depressed, get help. Medical help and psychological help. Counselors are not the same and sometimes what works for one person doesn't always work for someone else. I am thankful for finding the counselor I trust and my family helps in paying for the sessions. I recognize that the problems I have are severe and I couldn't handle them without new information. KavinCoach teaches me a new way to view the world. Just like my photography professors taught me how to see the world through the camera. At first I had the attitude of please fix me. I learned that KavinCoach would give me the tools to fix myself. I am still learning.
*I never did figure out who the mysterious 'they' were but 'they' seemed very powerful.